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Facelift for Neglected Harare Kopje

Harare City Council will soon renovate the Kopje area as they move to restore the historical site to its former glory following years of neglect.

The Kopje, discovered on 13 September 1890 as a potential tourist destination, is in a state of neglect with vandalism and litter rendering the site an eyesore.

A once must visit site for locals and tourists alike, Harare Kopje provides not only the best viewpoint of the city but is also a serene atmosphere for those wishing to relax and take a break from the huff and puff of the busy streets of the capital.

During a tour of Kopje on Wednesday, Harare Mayor, Councillor Bernard Manyenyeni said the area cannot be left to die and be abused as it offers the best panoramic view of the capital city.

“We need to move in quickly to save this this historical site which has been an eyesore and a free for all place. This is place we need to preserve so that people who want to come in and relax can do so but that cannot happen with the current state it is in,” said Manyenyeni.

He said council has already started clearing bushes around the site with renovations set to commence soon.

“We have prepared a working document which will tell us how we should proceed. The pride of this place is not necessarily in the economic value but if there are any avenues which we make money out of this place, then we will explore them,” he said.

According to Godhi Bvocho, Regional Director National Museum and Monuments, the kopje has two historical dimensions.

It was a residence for the local ethnic group, the Mbare people, under chief Mbare who lived there for quite a long time.

Archaeological evidence suggest that Fort Salisbury, as it came to be known in the late 1890s, belonged at that time to Chief Gutsa’s people who had taken possession of the Kopje from Chief Mbare.

It is thought that the name Harare was derived from the name of Chief Neharawa.

The chieftain ruled over a tribe who were the early inhabitants of Zimbabwe. Along with the various autonomous Shona tribes, they combined to form the Rozvi State which contained most of present-day Zimbabwe in the early 19th century.

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